Administrator Learns Value Of Medication Aides - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

02/22/05 - Nacogdoches

Administrator Learns Value Of Medication Aides

by Donna McCollum

The Administrator of Pinecrest Nursing Hme in Ncogdoches has changed his mind about medication aides. Mike Dewery says he'll hire them to get nurses to work for him.

Last week Dewery fired his med aides, placing the duty of handing out medicines solely on nurses. The decision backfired. His nurses quit and about 30 nursing home residents had to move.

There are reasons why nurses at long term care facilities rely so much on medication aides. "If I didn't have a med aide I think my stress level would be about this high, said Vocational Nurse Scotty Bland as he raised his hand well above his head.

Just some of Bland's responsiblities are to provide wound care, administer injections, insert feeding tubes and evaluate patients. Bland works at Westward Trails Manor, a nursing home facility for over 100 residents. In between all that he documents his every move. That's when he's not answering an emergency call.

Bland is on the go. So is Melissa Jones. Jones is a certified medication aide. Her job of handing out numerous medications requires responsibility, accuracy and undivided attention for all the residents. "I have probably 50. The first pass of meds takes 4 hours. That's half a day, half a shift," explained Jones. 

Jones' medication cart has enough meds for an entire wing of patients. Each one should be handed out at a specific time. With some patients you never want to miss a dosage. Or, "It could be somebody's life," said Jones.

The main reason why you're in a nursing home is you want medication aides. Director of Nursing, Floria Washington has been a registered nurse for 25 years. "I think it's a quality issue. I think the nurses in long term care need to have significant time to access and evaluate those residents."

Bland agreed, "There's no way I could pass meds and come in and make sure the patient is taken care of."

By helping each other, Bland and Jones don't have to perform a balancing act, to provide needed care.

Pinecrest Nursing Home owner Mike Drewery was finally convinced that medication aides are necessary. He spent most of Tuesday morning visiting his former clients who are now staying at other facilities. He's telling them they're welcome back once he rebuilds his staff.

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